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BLITZER'S BLOG: How many times will the tables turn between now and November?
February 21st, 2012
03:25 PM ET

BLITZER'S BLOG: How many times will the tables turn between now and November?

By Wolf Blitzer, CNN

Mesa, Arizona (CNN) – Things appear to be moving in the right direction for President Obama and his re-election drive – at least a bit.

The unemployment rate has been steadily going down in recent months.

The Dow Jones is hovering around 13,000 – nearly double the 6,547 that existed in March 2009, shortly after he took office.

His job approval number, according to our latest CNN-ORC International Poll, is at 50%.

On top of this, the president beats each of the four GOP presidential finalists in hypothetical one-on-one matchups.

Despite those indicators, White House and Obama re-election campaign officials should be under no illusions. There is still a lot of time between now and the November election.

Where things stand in February certainly doesn’t indicate where they will be in November.

There are so many factors at play.

For one thing, we don’t know who the Republican nominee will be. It probably will be one of the four finalists, but not necessarily. This already has proven to be one wild and unpredictable race for the GOP nomination.

Most serious Democratic Party insiders fear Mitt Romney a lot more than they fear Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich or Ron Paul. They believe the former Massachusetts governor would be a very formidable opponent.

They believe they would have an easier time with Santorum. His outspoken views on social issues, they say, could alienate many moderate Republicans and independents, especially suburban women.

Then again, I have often heard Jimmy Carter aides recall that they were high-fiving each other in 1980 when they heard that Ronald Reagan would be the Republican nominee. How could an incumbent president, they thought, lose to a former Hollywood actor?

We all know how that story ended.

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Filed under: 2012 election • Barack Obama • Mitt Romney • Newt Gingtich • Rick Santorum • Ron Paul • Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (60 Responses)
  1. Wayne from Houston

    There is alot of conversation in the republican primary regarding American morals and values. How do the republicans feel that two unfunded wars with the added bonus of tax cuts portray American morals and values when our soldiers and their families sacrifice their lives, blood, and limbs?

    February 22, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
  2. Perk

    'Flip ,Flop and Fly'.....IMF equivalent of 1st stimulus and Santorium on the devil is attacking America ? Good vs Evil ? Where is the Congressional Oversight on this money sent to Europe and exactly how much ? Minnie The Moocher + IMF = Europe and the US is in a tough economic jam. How much are we sending and where did that money we're sending come from ?

    February 22, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
  3. Perk

    Obama is singing the Blues Brother's ! Uh oh and here we go ! Shake Your Tail Feather's on that IMF and equivalent of the first stimulus sent to Europe with no Congressional oversight and they think the public doesn't know ? Yes we do too ! How much twist and shout is that going to start ? Mr. Geithner report to Obama's office and the American people want to see that bottom line dollar sent to Europe with this economic jam going on. "Baby don't you want to go..." before the America people consider computing time in tort statues of limitation. Raw on your hide ! How much Obama are you signing off on, in tough economic times in the US ? What is this military can now arrest a private citizen all about ? When and who decided to do that in America and how carried away will they get on that viewing our freedoms concerning ? Now comes the 5 billion on drones to service Public Schools and the face lifts are working. Is that in Obama care ? Good job Obama and liked your song and we'll all sing back too. Obama's theme song needs to be by the Blues Brother's..."Shake Your Tail Feather's" on go for JOB's in America !! We'll never find another President with so much personality and as fun as Obama can be. You could tell he wasn't sure he needed to sing and he knew the next day it'd be all over the news. Good job Obama and get real ,cause that's when he's at his best ! Hold the mic closer to your voice and sing on for jobs in the USA ! Sing it from your gut and soul !

    February 22, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
  4. Griff

    "Leave our idiot alone" she said. We know he's an idiot, but he's our idiot!"

    February 22, 2012 at 10:20 am |
    • BWRITS

      Probably a post by a no-MAN who wants to deny you birth control. LOL - Beginning to wonder about this group!

      February 22, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
  5. Neil

    Yeah, Obama is doing a great giving away my tax money.

    February 22, 2012 at 6:00 am |
  6. Marlee

    Too bad the politicians and media don't put as much effort into solving America's problems as they do campaigning. Santorum fires up conservative Christians. Now if they will just get out and vote!

    February 22, 2012 at 2:40 am |
  7. CCF

    I hope the GOP thinks the congressional gains in 2010 was worth their party. The only candidate your base will vote for is someone unelectable in a general election. Here's how this is going to play out. As Santorum's numbers improve in primary polls, Romney, since he believes in the nothing, will say something absolutely ridiculous to try and gain support with the right wing. Assuming Romney wins, those comments will cost him the election..

    February 22, 2012 at 12:18 am |
  8. Dan5404

    Th question is not how many times the tables will turn before November, it's how many times the stomach will turn, beginning with Wednesday's debate.

    February 21, 2012 at 11:45 pm |
  9. Brooks Riess

    I look to the internet to see the people's side of the equation and what they think. Majority of the people on the web support Ron Paul, as do I. Why do you not consider Ron Paul a bigger threat to Obama? Romney does have a lot of money on his side, but to me it seems as if Paul has more people on his side. Doesn't that mean more votes for him?

    February 21, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
  10. matt

    Wolf, you're a smart guy. Surely you can see into the dangers this country is already in as well as how much worse it's going to get if we continue to elect (on either side) what the parties have given us the last few years. CNN must start getting Ron Paul's message out to the American people. The one's who don't like him just don't understand him or the issues as in depth as they should. If you do any educated reading and you contain an ounce of sense, then you must see that Ron Paul and his message is the only way to get this country out of this mess. Educate yourselves, then vote Ron Paul!

    February 21, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
    • BWRITS

      Yes, educate YOURSELVES and vote for RON PAUL!!!!

      Obama/Biden in 2012!!!!!

      February 22, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
  11. Oliver El Paso, TX

    The republicans will never support a Catholic, at the convention they will select Sarah Plain run for present and Mitt Romney for Vic President

    February 21, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
  12. Attila, The Hun

    The only reason Carter lost was because of the Iranian hostage crisis. In politics like most things in life, timing is everything.

    February 21, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
    • Graham Krueger

      And the only reason the hostage crisis wasn't resolved is that Reagan had his aides contact the Iranian government, and promise to sell them weapons if they held the hostages prisoner until his inauguration. If that isn't treason I don't know what is

      February 21, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
  13. salk

    Ron Paul should get more media coverage. He is at least consistant about his message. The media has turned this race into a circus. How about CNN start showing us canidates that have a measureable IQ? I dont need to turn on the news (to be informed on current events), and hear garbage like Newt saying "Obama is a threat to national security.". Lets stick to things that matter and aren't moronic.

    February 21, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
  14. The Left Wing

    Although I never understood it, Reagan had a certain appeal to broad spectrum of the American public. Neither Romney or Santorum can do that.
    Romney appeals only to the greedy portion of the ultra rich. The rest of Romney's supporters are there because they don't like Obama. Romney isn't likely to win on his own merits. However, if the economy gets worse or Obama make mistake, Obama could lose to Romney rather than Romney wins.
    Santorum's appeal is a little broader, but social conservatives are not enough to win. Santorum is now in the process of exciting the social conservatives, but that same process is losing women, and many moderates. Not only that, it is also energizing liberal opposition. It would take really bad news for the country or big mistakes by Obama for Santorum to win or even get close to winning.

    February 21, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • Dan5404

      Reagan was a movie hero. That overshadowed the fact that he was not a very successful president on the economy.

      February 21, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
  15. james

    Is it too late for someone like Jon Huntsman to reenter the race? Has that ever happened where someone who ran/dropped out/and then reconsidered and ran again?

    February 21, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
    • JC in Western U.S.

      Jon Huntsman Jr. was the Governor of my state. He enjoyed a bipartisan 88% approval rating when he left office to become the Ambassador to China. Republicans had their chance to listen to him but didn't. And, if Romney's 'problem' is being Mormon, Jon Huntsman Jr. has the same 'problem'. He wouldn't be more acceptable to the so-called "Christian" right wing.

      Huntsman has accepted a position on the Board of Directors of Ford Motor Co. If you're very lucky, you might get another chance to support him in 2016, but only if Republicans don't win this election. If they win, the incumbent will run again in 2016. You can't count on Jon Huntsman Jr. marching in place waiting for Republicans to come to their senses in 2020. It's too late. He has moved on.

      February 21, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
  16. agathokles

    I take nothing for granted, regardless of how inept the Republican field appears to be. After all, I never dreamed that George W. could be reelected in 2004, having dragged us into two unnecessary wars we weren't able to pay for. Just goes to show: anything is possible.

    February 21, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
  17. Ben Frank

    With Obama's mixed record, he needs economic recovery to win election. Democrats have snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in the past. This election will be a referendum on Obama's record despite the week Republican field.

    February 21, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
  18. Benjamin

    Wolf,the unemployment rate is dropping because more people are working. Obama has done a spectacular job. His last round played he was well under par. He's a "tiger" on the links.

    February 21, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • Neil

      You must be on eof the millions getting my tax dollars.
      The unemployment is droping because peoples benefits are running out or they have stopped looking, neither of those are counted in the numbers. People aren't working, unless you call sitting on your couch eating cheetos having to move out to your mailbox every month to pick up my tax dollars.

      In that case, then you are correct, more people are working.

      February 22, 2012 at 5:58 am |
      • BWRITS

        I guess you did have to pay tax on those Cheetos, and perhaps the sofa! Enjoy!

        February 22, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
  19. kim, dc.ks

    Santorum, Romney, Gingrich, it doesn't matter. They are all Republicans and any of them getting elected would insure the destruction of our country. Bush got close, too close, and these traitors want to finish the job.

    February 21, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
  20. tonyl

    GOP = Christian Taliban

    February 21, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
  21. Rosalind Sabella Clark

    Dear Wolf,
    I am so vert tired of listening to the Obama bashers. I know that they cannot be thinking clearly. The President has done everything humanly possible to get our country back on track. It is really bothering me, these hateful comments, from truly uninformed people. I know that it is because he is black. The majority of midwestern, southerners are prejudice. They are hypocrites who want the President to fail. They thrive on it. Well I have the utmost respect for our President, he has done more for this country than any of those windbags who constantly criticize him. 2008 was the worst year for me personally , that I can ever remember ! I got caught up in the Madoff fraud, invested in a trust, lost most of my retirement. My sister + husband died of cancer. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009. I was taken down to my knees. I never blamed the President for my situation. I just kept on "When your going through hell just keep going"
    was a Churchill quote. I say lets just keep going forward. President Obama I think you are doing a great job. You have made me proud of my country with your devout service, wonderful family. Keep on, going on President Obama!
    I am proud of you.
    Rosalind Sabella Clark
    San Anselmo, CA 94960

    February 21, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
  22. NO BLITZ

    Where do these Republicon­s get off calling Romney a flip flopper? They've sampled every kind of ice cream in the store and still want to go across the street to see if they have better flavors! I, of NEWT 2012

    February 21, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
  23. TSB8C

    The only reason unemployment is down is because of the number of people that have left the work force and given up even looking anymore. The number of unemployed is still higher. The Dow Jones is up sure to borrowed money ok the form of bailouts given to the largest corporations. No sustainable improvements there at all.

    February 21, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  24. Samuel Prime

    Wolf, is it also not possible that none of the 4 GOP candidates will reach the 1144 delegates needed to win the nomination? (Given the growing number of proportional delegate allocations by states.)

    February 21, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  25. bull

    And for all your worthless polling and fudging numbers, Americans are well aware that Obama is the worst president we've ever had and cannot wait to boot him out of office.

    Good Riddance Obama, you can only fool the foolish.

    February 21, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • BWRITS

      Will you leave when Obama/Biden win the 2012 election? We can only hope.

      February 21, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
      • bull

        Santorum is gonna make Obama and Dems pay the piper – you can bet on it.

        February 21, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
      • BWRITS

        Again, LAUGHING... Polly want a cracker?!!!!

        February 22, 2012 at 9:48 am |
    • mightyfudge

      Worst President we've ever had?!? You couldn't quantify that argument in a million years. He's certainly not the best, but the worst? Not a chance.

      February 21, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • Don

      Proof please. Reagan was good. Bush One was meh. Clinton was good. Bush Jr was horrible war starter and had the worst recorded approval ratings for any president in history. Obama doesn't have that. He has pretty average approval ratings and has managed to recover the economy substantially, while also improving health care, killing Osama Bin Laden, drawing useless wars to a close. I'm independent.

      February 21, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • doug

      Americans know a good and honest man in our current President. When Obama is re-elected we can only hope that people such as yourself cross the Rio Grande and relocate in Mexico........

      February 21, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • reACTIONary

      Obma is the BEST president we've had in many, many decades! We made a good move when we elected him. None of the republican candidates come close. Obama 2012!

      February 21, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • Zimbot

      According to you? Its your opinion and that's ok. He currently has a 50% approval rating after overseeing the worst economic times since the great depression!

      February 21, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • Donald in Florida

      Well I guess the majority of Americans are going to be fools because he WILL be re-elected.

      February 21, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • tonyl

      Bush and Cheney fooled the nation with outright lies and forced the nation into illegal war sacrificing thousands of our soldiers and their families lives and trillions of dollars given to war industry millionaires. Talk about fooling people. I don't think the nation is ready again to hand the keys to the oval office to the same crowd.

      February 21, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • Rosalind Sabella Clark

      and good riddance to you bull. That about sums it up.

      February 21, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • tarakata

      Why don't you move to Egypt or Syria? You'll fit right in with the screaming nutjobs love to hate and suppress the peoples choices. If you hate America and freedom so much then why are you here? Calling the Americans that elected Obama and the 50% that favor him now 'fools' sounds sooo much like the middle-eastern extremists. You'd fit in well as a 'street screamer.'

      February 21, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
    • ollie

      Seriously? Bull – you obviously are the worst student of American History ever.

      February 21, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • 4sanity

      President Obama is the best President this country has had in a very long time ... by any measure. Can you just imagine the alternatives: senile, grumpy, clueless McCain with Sarah Palin in the #2 spot. You betcha ! No thanks !!

      Or how about going forward: Mitt Romney who can't make up his mind and stick to his convictions on anything. Or the lying, adulterous, ethically challenged kicked-out-of-office by his own party Gingrich. Or stick-your-head-in-the-sand Ron Paul and takes us back 90 years. Or Ayatollah Santorum who wants to shrink BIG GOVERNMENT but espouses imposing his religious views into our secular government and our personal lives. He's ready to take us back to the Middle Ages. Then there's always "Ooops" Perry or 9-1-9 Herman the Pizza delivery guy who doesn't even know what side to support in the Libyan conflict.

      President Obama has been reasonable, bipartisan, steady, articulate, successfully defended this country, wound down 2 wars, managed to steer the country's economy back into growth (inspite of Republican obstructionism) and has given us important healthcare reform.

      February 21, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • giants


      You sound like a frustrated Republican/ Tea Party electorate who is withiout poltical and global knowledge ( ignorant) .

      I do pity you.

      February 21, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
    • Attila, The Hun

      Another brainwashed Tea Bagger who wants big government cuts, but not his Social Security payments.

      February 21, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
    • JC in Western U.S.

      Keep dreaming Bull. The American people are not a monolithic group of people who believe as you believe. 50% of us think Obama is doing a fine job. And probably 10 – 15% more are not exactly cheerleading for him, but are willing to give him a little bit longer in office, so long as things keep looking brighter between now and November. In Maine, Rick Santorum got 18% of the 2% of whatever percent of voters in Maine are Republican. Even Romney only got 2,190 votes. That's 1/10 of 1 % of the population of Maine. The entire state of Maine has a smaller population than Houston. With numbers like that, it's a bit early to declare Obama the loser.

      February 21, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
  26. Laura Boxer

    I just saw the crawl and it said that Gingrich announced President Obama is bad for national security. Why ever do you repeat nonsense like that? Why not try to be part of a reasonable discourse? Gingrich is using CNN to rile up his possible supporters. On the other hand when I read nonsense it makes me less likely to bother with CNN. I want real discussion, by smart people. Not Joe the Plumber bumper sticker crawl dumb it down silly stuff.

    February 21, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
    • Dan5404

      I agree that Gingrich is totally nuts on some statements, but CNN is a news organization. He said it, everyone reported it. It's not CNN's job to decide how trivial or untrue it is, that's your job as a voter.

      February 21, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
  27. BWRITS

    Way to spread the optimism, Blitz! Or, was it pessimism! (laughing)

    February 21, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
  28. eric

    Super PAC's are the real ??? going in. GOP has yet to actually deliver a clear message of what they will do differently, other than repeal "ObamaCare", tax the rich less and pray for rain.

    February 21, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
  29. Koga

    The one candidate that they should be worried about is the only GOP nominee that consistantly gets a large percentage of Independant voters as well as bringing moderate democrats across party lines to vote conservatively. Of course that candidate is Ron Paul. The only Republican candidate that truly stands for what is best for the country and the Constitution.

    February 21, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • Attila, The Hun

      Ron Paul is the existential threat given that he can't win a primary or bust through 20%. He has a hard core constituency that will stick with to the end. Most Paul supporters will probably sit the election rather than vote for anyone else.

      February 21, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
  30. rinsac

    I'm not any more comfortable with Santorum's Catholicism than I am Romney's Mormonism. Both have proven that they would try to enforce their religious beliefs politically if in office. I think the separation of church and state should extend to their not being in office. I am so sick of the religious, and I use that term loosely, right insisting on forcing people who believe differently than they to conform to their beliefs, and inferring that those who believe differently than they are less than good. A pox on them and a plague.

    February 21, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • Mr. Izz

      Romney has not done anything to try force the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints beliefs into the political office. Yes, religion should be kept out of this race, and Romney is the only one not talking about it! And guess what? he is now suffering in the "polls." All of these so-called conservatives are going nuts over the social issues, when they should be focused on more important things. Your comments just go to show how anti-"other people's religion" this country is. Religious freedom? Ha!

      February 21, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
  31. Truth and Nothing But The Truth

    Wolfie, the unemployment rate has been going down for ONE REASON, large numbers of people are dropping OUT of the workforce. The REAL unemployment rate is over 15%. And now with gas over $4/gal and heading towards $5/gal , the smoke and mirrors Obama "recovery" will be exposed for what it is, FICTION. Maybe the dictator-in-chief will simply MANDATE we all buy Chevy Volts to get around?

    Every penny increase in gas takes ONE BILLION in disposable income out of the economy and sends it overseas. And if Iran decides to flip out and do anything in the Strait of Hormuz or attack Israel or if Israel attacks Iran, Obama and this country are in deep doo-doo. I guess Obama's handling of Iran isn't going so well. They know he's a weak president so I expect they'll act up.

    February 21, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • Mortalc01l

      You're FUNNY!!!!! Another Republican mistaking his own deluded opinion for fact and avoiding the truth whenever possible!

      Obama is not weak... Ask Osama Bin Laden, or one of the other 20+ Al Qaeda scumbags that Obama unleashed the Marines and Army on if they think he's weak.

      What about the rescued hostages in Ethiopia?

      You should change your screen name to Lies and nothing but make-believe.

      February 21, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
  32. Bill in Florida

    I realize, Wolf, that you were simply looking for a way to close the story. But to even remotely imply that Santorum id Reagan and that Obama is Carter is stretching WAY out of bounds.

    Obama would win in a landslide over Santorum. Even GOP strategists have admitted this (see CNN yesterday).

    February 21, 2012 at 3:54 pm |

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